NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Time for some climate research accountability

Dr. David Legates, an associate professor and director of the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Delaware, asks an important question in a National Post Op-Ed.

If greenhouse gas global warming advocates want a change in energy policy, should they be held as accountable as the energy business which they want to change?
Since the House energy committee is responsible for energy policy, it has every right to demand additional scrutiny for studies upon which energy policy is being made. Failing to disclose data or methods is not an acceptable option when energy policy is at stake. Moreover, since Mann was the author of the section of the IPCC that touted his own research before others had the opportunity to critically re-examine his work, serious questions must be raised about conflicts of interest within the IPCC and how it came to promote speculative findings that had not been independently evaluated and which since have been shown to be flawed.

The outrage expressed by the AGU, AMS and other scientific societies is hypocritical. Funding for climate science amounts to several billion dollars a year, but these groups strongly protest the accountability that goes with it. Both the AGU and AMS have adopted statements calling on the United States to change its energy policies in light of the climate-change issue. Yet while they insist that this research be the basis for policy decisions, they object to its scrutiny by policymakers.

In this instance, the House energy committee has uncovered a real problem in science — one that extends far beyond the climate-change issue. Scientists must demand that results and conclusions stand up to independent verification. Yet since the climate-change community has failed to impose such standards on itself, it cannot be surprised if legislators have opted to do the job for them.
Climate change research is worth several billions a year to Universities and researchers. If global warming is a natural long term cycle, then there is little we can do about it and atmospheric and greemhouse gas research will dry up. A different set of disciplines, will be funded as we seek ways to adapt to this new warmth. It is in the best interest of the atmospheric scientists to continue to promote greenhouse global warming. The question is what is best for America? It is time for some accountability, these billions on global warming research can be better spent on finding ways to adapt.

Full Op-Ed at Climate Audit here.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Frederic Christie said...

There's a few reasons why there's a disanalogy here.

1) Scientists must not be barred from searching for the truth. Economic deprivation may or may not be problematic, but it certainly compares not at all to the freezing that happens when political intervention says "Tread thus far and no further".

2) The energy business makes decisions. Scientists do not.

3) The precautionary principle tells us that, when we are in question, we should avoid long-term harm with far reaching ramifications, even if that means short-term costs.

4) Regulating industries to reduce emissions has independent public value and even has long-term benefit for those industries. Same with most of the other proposals.

5) In this case, the claim that the climate scientists don't monitor themselves is wholly disingenuous politicking from the House. The article cites ONE scientist and didn't even say he was wrong, just cavalier with letting others examine. They then critique one report, which has been found flawed by who? The same group of climate science dissidents who have public vested stake in maintaining their stance? The fact is that anthropogenic global warming is the scientific consensus.

6) Your own arguments state that we CAN'T be sure about climate data, such as historical data, clouds, etc. Under that argument, there's plenty of reason to spend billions (a drop in the bucket compared to the trillion bucks the Pentagon lost) on more climate data. Again busily undermining yourself, Russ. And, under the same logic, those science research proposals also include mechanisms to benefit businesses.

Tue Sep 20, 10:02:00 PM PDT  

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